One condition we see often is toenail fungus. This is a very common problem that affects so many people. Fungus is easily spread from person to person (especially among children). If you have a fungal infection you will notice that your nails have become discolored. As the infection advances it can even cause your toenails to crumble or break apart. Don’t let this infection spread; come see us at the first sign of a problem!
Nail Fungus—Where Does It Come From?
Fungus thrives in dark, damp, and warm environments. This makes places such as a public gym, shower, pool, or even your shoes a perfect place for these microorganisms to populate. Another thing to look out for is sharing nail equipment, such as toenail clippers. If you get your nails done at a salon, make sure their cleanliness standards are as high as yours. People with lowered immune systems can develop a fungal infection more easily than people who are otherwise healthy. If you have diabetes, AIDS, or cancer, this is something to be aware of.
Protecting Your Feet from an Infection
You can take steps to prevent a fungal infection from developing. Simply a few extra precautions will greatly decrease your risk. One important thing to keep in mind is to make sure your feet stay clean and dry throughout the day. If you have excessively sweaty feet, you might consider bringing an extra pair of socks along so you can change them should the need arise. Also, let your shoes dry out at least a full 24 hours before wearing them again.
If you frequent the gym, be aware of fungus that lurks in the changing room. Wear flip-flops or shower shoes to protect your feet. Finally, keep your feet safe from cuts and wounds. This is how fungus enters your body, so if you sustain a cut around your nail cover it with a bandage and antibacterial ointment.
Treating an Existing Fungal Infection
It can be a difficult task to get rid of a fungal infection that has made itself cozy. There are different creams and topical medications that claim they will get rid of fungus, but they are not always effective. Home remedies such as vinegar soaks work about as well as the over-the-counter treatments.
The best and longest-lasting way to really get rid of fungal toenails is laser therapy. This is a painless, non-invasive procedure that targets only the fungus and leaves the healthy tissue completely intact. Patients are finding that the benefits of laser therapy are bountiful.
In rare, severe cases it may become necessary to have surgery. Usually this involves the partial or total removal of the infected toenail. Since this is an extreme method of treatment it is only used as a last resort when all other options have failed.
Contact Us Today
Having a fungal infection in your toenails can be embarrassing, unsightly, and even painful. Do not let something like this keep you from living a happy and fulfilled life. We can help treat your fungal infection so you can go back to your old self. Call Dr. Mitchell Wachtel, podiatrist North Andover, today at (978) 794-8406 to schedule an appointment at any one of our three Massachusetts office locations.